A History of Roses and Valentines’ Day

The History of Valentines’ Day

A Short Letter from Your Valentine

The most romantic day of the year has its roots traced to the Roman Empire in 270 A.D, under the rule of Emperor Claudius II. The third century had been especially hard for the Romans with invasions, plagues and economic depression that almost collapsed the Empire. As history tends to enjoy irony as much as the modern society it is in what could be argued as being the least romantic period in history that the international celebration of love and romanticism arose.

Legend says that Claudius, a talented general that had served in the army for all of his life was tasked with saving the empire in its time of utmost need, thus Emperor Claudius II arose to power.

There’s no secret that Rome was at war with ‘savages.’ Rome was, after all, always at war with savages and that’s mostly because a ‘savage’ was everything non-roman. During this period the treasuries were growing shorter by the day, the population was hungry and the army’s morale was down. Instead of cutting down the senates’ expenses and decreasing the ruling classes’ quality of life, he came up with the idea that unmarried soldiers are better fighters and outlawed marriage for young men. What a douche!

Meanwhile, in Rome close to the Palatine Hill there was a young priest, a man of true divine inspiration called Valentine. He had preached about love for all of his life and wasn’t willing to stop just because the Emperor had ordered so. Thus, he had young couples married in secret at his church. Now we’re not saying he was wrong in his actions, but if you want to break the law knowingly that the capital punishment is death, choosing to do so next door to the Palatine Hill in open daylight is probably not the best idea. Evidently, he was caught and jailed but there’s a lesson to be learned from this…

Whilst in jail Valentine fell in love with the guard’s daughter who visited his cell. They formed a pure and platonic love. Just before his execution, he sent a letter to her that will be remembered throughout eternity. In this letter, he confessed his love for her and his happiness to have met such a beautiful creature of God. At the end of the letter, he had signed it “Your Valentine”, a signature that has been preserved ever since and now written on Valentine’s Day cards.

For abiding God’s calling even in the harshest of times and paying with his life, Valentine was proclaimed a saint and the day he was supposedly executed on is now commemorated as the day of St Valentine, 14th of February.

St Valentine, imprisoned; credit: FOTOTECA STORICA NAZIONALE/HULTON ARCHIVE

Roses and Valentines’ Day

For those of you that don’t know Roses weren’t initially the flower of choice for Valentine’s day. They first had to become the symbol of love and passion which happened over the course of thousands of years and involved some fortunate events.

The Love Triangle: Aphrodite, Adonis & Ares

It is said that back when the gods showed themselves in the mortal realm there was a boy of utmost beauty, also known as Adonis. Such was his regard that Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, had to see for herself.  Once she did, she fell in love with unconditionally.

Meanwhile, Ares was romantically attracted to Aphrodite and wasn’t very happy that a mortal stole the love of his goddess. Legend says that Aphrodite was chasing Adonis to mate and whilst Adonis was hunting wild boars he was injured mortally. Unknown to both Aphrodite and Adonis, Ares had transformed into a wild boar as revenge for the goddesses unshared feelings for him and wounded Adonis. Aphrodite cried over his dying body and from the mixture between his blood and her tears the first rose bush bloomed. Thus the Rose became a symbol of genuine and unconditional love.

Aphrodite crying over the lifeless body of Adonis, in a garden with some kids and roses.

John William Waterhouse “The Awakening of Adonis” 1899

The Future of Valentines’ Day

From Roses to more Personalized Gifts

Currently, more and more countries are adopting Valentines’ Day as a national holiday and the overall consumption of Roses throughout February is on a steady rise. The Rose will always be an international symbol of love and the most gifted item for Valentine’s Day. Yet, nowadays we’re seeing more people moving away from the standardized traditional Valentines’ Day gifts in favour of something more personal that encapsulates what their loved one means to them. Trying to summarize one’s personality through a gift is never an easy task and there are countless options on the market, however, we have put together a criterion that the NOVELTEAM are using to prepare for the big day that we’d love to share with you.

1)    Strive to offer an experience. Whether it’s through a product or travelling, these always triumph over a cliché gift.

2)    If you’re buying a product be sure it’s local – there’s nothing screaming “I’m a good human being” more than helping a local company and investing in the community.

3)    If you’re going for a bottle of something you shouldn’t need to spend hundreds on a bottle, but buying a bottle of Gordon’s doesn’t really scream “you’re so important for me” does it?

4)    Get something that fulfils a need your loved one has, that way you’re proving you know how to listen and that you care about them.

5)    Make sure it also represents you. Valentine’s Day is about genuine love and affection and you can’t do it unless you’re genuine yourself.

Whether you’ll go for the traditional gift or try something different we hope you will have an unforgettable Valentine’s Day with the love of your life 😊 If you’re still stuck on what to buy, our recommended gift of choice is NOVELTEA’s brand-new blend, The Tale of Oolong – a beautiful blend of Oolong Tea, Scotch Whisky and dried rose petals, it ticks all of our boxes and maybe it ticks yours as well – Prost!

Rose Facts

  • The world’s oldest living rose bush is thought to be 1000 years old. Today, it continues to bloom on the wall of the Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany.
  • In 2017 the UK imported approximately 8 million stems of fresh roses for February alone.
  • Loose leaf tea blends use dried rose petals as a natural sweetener that also enhances the floral notes.
2019-02-13T16:21:04+00:00February 13th, 2019|Stories|